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Delta Killings: Military Erred In Invasion Of Bayelsa Community -Rights Group




By Stephen Asaba-ase

As well-meaning stakeholders nationwide continued to condemned the gruesome killing of 16 soldiers in a wake of the communal land dispute in Delta state, human rights activists had frowned at the military invasion of Igbomotoru community in Southern Ijaw in Bayelsa State in pursuit of perceived perpetrators.

Congress learnt that 16 Military personnel including a Lt. Col, 2 Majors and a Captain on a peace mission were dastardly killed and slaughtered at Okuama, an Urhobo Community in Ughelli South local government area, Delta State.

In a press statement signed by the President of Citizen’s Rights Advocacy Group, Mr Fun-ororo Narebor, on 20th March, 2024, the Military authorities sent troops in about 5 gun boats to storm Igbomotoru community in search of some persons believed to be among the perpetrators of the highly condemnable killing of the Military officers at Okuama, and killed over 40 persons and burn down buildings in the community.

He said, “In as much as we drastically condemn the killing of the military men, we will also appeal to the military authorities to abide by the rule of law and not to take laws into their hands. The killing of innocent defenceless citizens in Bayelsa have humanitarian consequences and it is contrary to the Geneva conventions of 1949 and which Nigeria is a party.

“The law provide safety and dignity of persons who do not take an active part in hostility against the government and its laws. We guest that the unarmed civilians rights of innocent should be respected. We appeal that in all circumstances, respect the dignity of their person, their honour, their family rights, their religious conviction, practices, tradition and customs.

“They shall at all times be fairly treated and be protected, especially against all acts of violence….Women shall be especially protected against rape, forced prostitution, or any form of indecent assault”

The group reiterated, “Igbomotoru community was never part of the killers and it is the duty of the military men to show professionalism in preventing innocent causalities. However seen killing and damaging properties in trying to search for perpetrators of the Okuama killing are unconstitutional. We need to stop the burning of a whole community, killing of innocent citizens and abuse of fundamental human rights all in the name of searching for suspected criminals, especially when the said community is not collectively in any way involved in the killing of the military men.

“Despite the provocation, we still call on the military authorities to abide by the rule of law and exhibit professionalism as trained personnel in carrying out reprisal attacks.”Two wrong cannot make a right. we are all in deed in pains for the fallen military men. We therefore call on all citizens especially community leaders to join hands with the military to bring the perpetrators to book”, he added.

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